Taliban faces criticism for banning Afghans from going abroad; more restrictions on women’s movement

The Taliban has banned Afghans from leaving the country, a move that the group claimed was taken after considering the alleged hardships faced by Afghan refugees abroad in camps in different countries

Mar 01, 2022
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Taliban faces criticism for banning Afghans from going abroad; more restrictions on women’s movement (Photo: Twitter)

The Taliban has banned Afghans from leaving the country, a move that the group claimed was taken after considering the alleged hardships faced by Afghan refugees abroad in camps in different countries. Others, however, heavily criticized the move, terming it as “hostage-taking”. 

At a press conference in Kabul, the Taliban’s Deputy Minister for Information and Culture, Zabiullah Mujahid, said Afghans will not be allowed to leave the country unless they have a clear destination and purpose. Furthermore, women have been banned from going abroad without a mahram, an adult male relative.

“If the Afghans are not sure what will happen to them outside, we will close it (for now). I reminded you that more than 50,000 Afghans are in a bad situation in the Doha camps,” Mujahid, who is also a spokesperson for the group, was quoted as saying by TOLOnews. 

The latest move, which is being heavily criticized by both Afghans and foreigners alike, is among several other conservative and discriminatory measures taken by the Taliban regime since coming to power in August last year.

“Afghan citizens are not a flock of sheep needing zealous shepherding. This is just plain silly and needs to be repudiated,” Muska Dastageer, a lecturer at the American University of Afghanistan, said in a tweet. “This is not for the Afghanistan of today,” she added. 

Women, once again, are at the receiving end of the Taliban’s discriminatory policies. 

"These would be unacceptable restrictions on freedom of movement. I call on the Taliban to clarify their remarks urgently," UK charge d'affaires for Afghanistan Hugo Shorter said in a tweet on Monday. 

In August last year, when the Taliban seized power in Kabul, toppling the US-backed Afghan government, over 200,000 people fled the country, fearing reprisal and economic uncertainty under the Taliban's regime. However, since then hundreds of Afghans kept leaving the country in coordination with foreign governments and non-government organizations. 

With this ban, the evacuation of Afghans who are still at risk could become even more challenging. 

US State Department Spokesperson Ned Prince said they are engaging the Taliban on the issue. "We have seen the Taliban statements reported in the press and have raised our concerns with the Taliban," he said on Monday.

He further added, "Our ability to facilitate relocation for our Afghan allies depends on the Taliban living up to its commitment of free passage."

(SAM)

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